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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Schools Take Possession of DAV Property; Cold Spring Votes to Appeal Decision

The Campbell County School District has taken possession of the former DAV property after a judge granted a request for eminent domain.

by Robin Gee

One week after a judge granted the Campbell County School District’s request for eminent domain, Superintendent Dr. David Rust announced the district submitted a check for $5.5 million to the court and has taken possession of the former Disabled American Veterans property. 

In the meantime, the Cold Spring city council held a special meeting to discuss the court’s decision and to decide whether to appeal to a higher court. The measure to appeal passed with three of the four council members present voting yes (Lisa Cavanaugh, Paul Kloeker and Deanna Hengge) with one abstention (Adam Sandfoss). Cindy Moore and Chris Ampfer were not present. 

Before the meeting, Hengge announced that she would be resigning from her position because she will be moving out of the city. The city will appoint a new member before the end of the year.

Dr. Rust responded to the decision by urging residents of the city to contact the city government. 

"Time is of the essence! For those of you living in Cold Spring I would encourage you to ask the City Council to drop their appeal, in the best interest of students and to relieve the congestion at our current middle school."

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Schools move ahead

Dr. Rust shared the news of the judge’s decision on the Campbell County School District’s website. He shared some background of the decision and posted a list of DAV property frequently asked questions.

He also posted responses to some of the city’s claims about the property and about concerns for traffic and other issues. 

RELATED: Judge Grants Campbell County Schools’ Case to Take DAV Property

RELATED: Reactions from Cold Spring, School District on Judge's DAV Property Ruling

"The City has said that the development of the property into a hospital would bring in over $1.5 million in taxes annually, the majority of which would go to the school district. This is a gross miscalculation,” he said. “We collect 64.8 cents per $100 of property valuation. If a hospital or other improvement was valued at $30 million, we would only collect $194,400 (30,000,000/ $100 X .648). Even if the property were to be valued at the same amount as St. Elizabeth in Fort Thomas ($66 million), we would collect $427,680. There is no way that property will ever generate the amount of revenue the city claims."

While he admitted there would be an increase in traffic at the site, he contends that a traffic engineer has evaluated the site and has suggested some moves to improve the intersections and turn lanes that would help with traffic flow onto the site.

Reiterating the need

He also noted that other properties were not found suitable. In particular, he said, the former Silver Grove school is too small and the elementary is in poor shape. The current middle school has 1,215 students and half would go to the new school. Silver Grove has a capacity for 200-300 students.

"We have evaluated many other sites on which to put a middle school in the north. Most are either too small, topographically challenged or cost prohibitive to develop," he said.

Dr. Rust reiterated why the DAV property presents a unique opportunity for the schools to add a much-needed middle school.

"This 30-acre site, with its 125,000 square foot office and warehousing space, in the location where it sits, is about as perfect as we will ever find and can be renovated much cheaper than developing another property, running new utilities, and building from the ground up."

At their meeting, Cold Spring council members also voted unanimously to express the council's willingness to meet with the school board to discuss the matter further. 

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